How to Help Protect a Pet From Getting Lost

Jul 11, 2019   Tracey Aston   Pet Safety

It's a pet parent's worst nightmare - one minute your pet is there, the next, they're gone. Just imagining the scenario is enough to strike fear into our hearts but it's an unfortunate reality of many families. Dogs are curious, they love to hunt and explore and run, and don't always know what's best for them. While there is never a guarantee a pet won't get lost, and it's impossible to protect them from every possible risk, there are ways to lower your pet's risk of getting lost. 

The first line of defense is a well-trained pet. All pets should know basic commands such as sit, stay, and come. Also address door-dashing by training a pet to calming sit when the doorbell rings, there is a knock at the door, or someone is entering or exiting. While the pet is being trained or if the pet has a past issue with door dashing, block all pets with a barrier or train them to go to their crate when someone is at the door. Door dashing is the #1 way pets get lost. Children as well as pets should be taught the dangers of pets attempting to run out the door. Many excitable children will run in and out of the house without a second thought to throwing open a door or leaving a door partly latched. Explain to children the dangers their beloved pet could face if the pet was to get out an open door. 

Secure the pet's environment. Check all fencing for missing pieces, gaps or holes. If a pet is a jumper, consider PVC piping along the top of the fence. If at all possible never leave a pet unattended, even in a fenced yard. A quick half hour of digging could have your pet out from under the fence before a pet parent even realizes they're gone.  If the pet is tethered, always check the line for signs of fraying or wear. Having a doggy door that allows a pet to come and go as they please greatly raises the risk of a pet finding a way around a fence. Make sure all screen doors and windows are securely in place and if possible locked. A cat investigating something outside the window could easily push out an unsecured screen.

Check all equipment for proper fitting. A pet parent should be able to fit 2 fingers in-between a collar and the pet's neck.  A collar or harness that is too loose around a pet's neck can easily be slipped. 

Always check all leashes, collars and harnesses for signs of fraying and never use retractable leashes! If a pet sees something interesting or even if they are overly enthusiastic about heading to their favorite trail in the park, a hard enough pull can snap frayed equipment or a the thin cord of a retractable leash.

When traveling with a pet, whether for vacation, the veterinarian or even a trip to the park, a pet should be wearing a pet seat belt harness or be in a crate. Never let a pet hang their heads or bodies out of the windows, not only does that put a pet at risk of an eye or head injury, a pet could easily jump out of the window. Train the pet to wait until your command to exit the vehicle, this will help keep them from getting lost as well as keep them out of traffic. 

While tags, licenses and microchips won't prevent a pet from getting lost, it raises your chances of getting your pet back quickly should they get out of your grasp. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done that will work 100% of the time, but taking the above steps can help a pet parent lessen the odds of it happening to them. 


 
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